The Endometriosis Network Canada’s blog serves as a supplemental resource and space for guests to publish posts about endometriosis, including opinion pieces, personal stories, alternative treatments, lifestyle changes, recipes, and more!
We’ve all heard it before: you are what you eat. This statement couldn’t be truer for women who have endometriosis (also known as endo), an often-painful condition that causes cells that mimic uterine cells to grow outside the uterus. Between toxins that mimic estrogen hormones and foods that contain hormones, it’s difficult for women to avoid sources of external hormones, or more specifically, excess estrogen. Excess estrogen has been widely blamed for many of the endometriosis symptoms women experience. But don’t despair. You can use “’endo-friendly foods” to reduce your intake of estrogen and ease your symptoms. Here are our top five endo diet tips: 1. Phyting Back While the medical community has yet to pinpoint an exact cause for endometriosis, it’s widely accepted that excess estrogen can either cause or worsen endo symptoms. This excess estrogen comes in many forms: foods such as meats and cheeses, phthalates in skincare products, PCBs from plastics like water bottles, and dioxin, a toxin commonly found in drinking water. These harmful external estrogens are called xenoestrogens. When absorbed into the body, xenoestrogens alter the balance of our bodies’ natural hormones, which can result in many of the endometriosis symptoms experienced by women. Just as some foods sources can cause endo symptoms, some foods can help fight back. These foods are called phytoestrogens. They also mimic the body’s natural estrogen hormone but are only half as strong. The body recognizes phytoestrogens as a source of estrogen and will therefore reduce estrogen production. When the counterbalancing hormone progesterone comes in line with estrogen levels, the bothersome symptoms decrease. Food sources for phytoestrogens are soy,... read more
Endometriosis (“endo”) is a condition that affects roughly 10 to 15% of women between the ages of 24 and 40. It’s commonly recognized as a triad of symptoms: dysmenorrhea (painful periods), dyspareunia (painful sex) and infertility (the inability to conceive a child). While these are three common symptoms associated with endo, other symptoms may include pelvic pain, painful bowel movements, gastrointestinal or urinary tract problems, and fatigue. What is Endo? The cause of endometriosis is still not known, however one perspective is that endo occurs when cells that mimic the endometrial lining inside the uterus implant themselves outside of the uterus. Very specifically, the cells grow where they’re not supposed to grow. These implants can also travel to other areas of the body like the bowels, bladder and ovaries. Because these implants are part of the female reproductive organs, they respond to hormonal signals from the body. During a woman’s period, the endometrial lining would normally be shed through her uterus. Because the endo implants are outside of the uterus, this cannot happen. These implants respond to hormonal cues but are trapped between layers of tissue and cannot shed their lining. This leads to inflammation, adhesions, scarring and many of the symptoms associated with endo. Causes of Endo The medical community hasn’t pinpointed an exact cause for endo, although many theories exist. One such theory is that endo results from retrograde flow, the backwards flow of menstrual blood during a woman’s period. However, more than 90% of women are likely to experience retrograde flow at some point during their periods and may or may not have endo. Another theory... read more